Walgreen Posts Higher Quarterly Profit

New York City Walgreen Co. reported a higher quarterly net profit on Monday, helped by prescription sales and cost controls.

Net profit rose nearly 12% to $443 million in the quarter that ended Aug. 31, compared to $396.5 million a year ago.

The reported quarter's profit included a $79 million benefit tied to a vacation accrual adjustment, Walgreen said.

In the year-ago quarter, Walgreen unexpectedly posted its first quarterly profit decline in almost 10 years due to lower reimbursements for some generic drugs, higher salary and other expenses.

Sales rose 8.8% to $14.6 billion, while same-store rose 2.6%. The company said prescription sales rose 7.9% and made up 66% of sales in the quarter.

Walgreen said it filled 0.6% more prescriptions in stores open at least a year than it did in the year-earlier quarter. It said overall U.S. retail-prescription volume fell 1.9% in the same period, excluding Walgreen.

"Tough times are forcing people to make tough choices—delaying doctor visits and prescription use," Walgreen CEO Jeffrey Rein said.

Walgreen has made an unsolicited bid for Longs Drug Stores Corp. to gain more stores, particularly in California and Hawaii. Longs, which has cited possible regulatory hurdles in the Walgreen offer, has already agreed to be bought by CVS Caremark Corp. for $71.50 per share.